Can Children Struggle with Despondency?

Something unexpected happened when I published Time and Despondency: Regaining the Present in Faith and Life; the people with the most questions have been parents concerned for their children. I didn’t foresee this because I assumed the people who would be most interested in my book would be people like me: thirty-somethings who can’t seem to shake the perpetual, bored ennui of everyday adult life. But in the months since I began sending copies to advance readers, the folks with the most persistent questions are parents. They want to know a) do children struggle with despondency; and b) what can we do to recognize that and help?

It’s a beautiful and important set of questions, and I’m not entirely sure I’m qualified to answer (I neither have my own children nor any kind of qualification in working with them). So I did the next best thing: reflect on my own experiences of despondency as a child. Here’s the first in a series of two guest posts I wrote for Charli Riggle’s parenting blog–the next will focus on practical ideas of how to recognize and help children when despondency is knocking on their door. Bonus: if you’ve ever wanted to see what I looked like as a toddler, now’s your chance (scroll down in the post). Hint: I was already in love with existentially fraught books from an early age.

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